Showcase Interview

Bob Davies

Bob Davies

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In his twenty years as a teacher at UW-Stout in the Hospitality and Tourism Department, Bob Davies has had twenty-two different preparations in Lodging, Property Management, Tourism (both management and applied research), and Service Administration. He has also taught graduate courses, prepared both undergraduate and graduate curriculum, and served as the graduate program director for 10 years. Lodging and Service Administration has been his favorite course to teach based on his years of experience in hotel development and service management. He also gets actively involved in applied research surrounding operational issues like travel trends, airport services, CEM: Customer Experience Management, and Six Sigma service process through his association and industry trade association membership.

To help his students understand the material, Bob said, “I provide them content in a stepped, highly developmental way.” He likes to get students to think critically, no matter their level, and works as needed one-to-one with all students, which makes it easier for them to learn. Bob has found applied and contemporary case studies to be a great teaching tool, as a way to connect the industry to class, make the class as applied as possible and still meet the objectives. He typically prepares two applied case studies per semester for his classes. Currently his Highlanders Golf and Conference Center case study can be used in three courses covering three critical aspects of the hotel, golf and service industry. He also shares the applied cases with colleagues in Hospitality and Tourism and Golf Enterprise Management.

A strategy he calls a “backward case study” is his favorite. Students start with the case and eventually get back to the theory behind the elements of the case, so the case study (which is long and detailed) becomes the umbrella that covers all course objectives and applied content.

Some years ago, Bob tried an innovation he still likes. In 1995, he used a “team test” to help students learn a long list of terms they had to know to proceed with the course. Before he used the team approach, the test scores were generally in the low 80’s; when he divided the class into teams of four, and the teams studied for, and took the test together, not only did students score in the high 80’s but they debated specific meanings and had a better grasp of the terms and their application or use. Those classes ultimately had more open discussions, students felt more confident with the content and overall grades on subsequent assignments improved.